US Capitol

I'm finally packed and ready to go!

Today we head out for Washington DC for the American Library Association Annual Conference!

Basically, four or five days of sessions, exhibit halls, snagging galley proofs and free schwag, catching up with colleagues, author talks, and a lot more!

This also marks my "official" takeover as committee chair and editor of Footnotes, the NMRT publication, which should be a rock and roll ride for the next twelve months.

I'm sure I'll have lots of pictures to share (and galleys to taunt with!) when I return. Have a great week, y'all!


Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

I wanted to reread the sixth book before the release of Deathly Hallows next month, and I tried to slow down and absorb a bit more of the twists and turns than when I last read it - the day it was released and I was racing to see what happened!

This is clearly a "penultimate" book - lots of build up, not a lot of payoff, but for a difficult ending and the "gearing up" of the gang for a good vs. evil showdown.

I can't really reveal much without spoilers if you haven't read, but I was satisfied reading this, knowing the conclusion was only weeks away!

Can't wait for #7, and can't wait for the new movie!


Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich

This book was released yesterday, I received it yesterday, and I read it yesterday.

Laughing out loud at least half the time. ;-)

Without giving away much plot, this time around Stephanie finds herself on the wrong side of the law when her ex-husband, the deplorable Dickie, winds up missing. There are the usual band of supporting characters, Ranger's merry mercenaries, exploding animals, dying cars, Grandma Mazur moments, and a few Cupcake/Babe moments. The mystery wasn't the most suspenseful ever, but the situations and the comedy more than made up for it, to my mind. ;-)

This book was fully of funny, funny moments, and even if the ending was a tad weak for me, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. The question around the library when it comes to these books is always: are you a Ranger Girl or a Joe Girl?


As a surprise treat, you also get to find out Tank's name in this novel. ;-)

I can't recommend this series enough, and this is a GREAT edition to the Stephanie Plum oeuvre! Read, read, read!


It's time for a little Good and Bad...

  • The Tudors
  • A new season of Man vs. Wild
  • Writing fiction again
  • Rock the Stacks @ Your Library (Wherein we had a loud, rockin' metal band play. In our LIBRARY. We're so cool.)
  • New books! New books! New Katie MacAlister, new Janet Evanovich!
  • Seeing The Brotherhood get together (filmmaking BRILLIANCE, right here)
  • Leaving for ALA Annual in DC on Friday
  • No more Mr. Wizard
  • No more Bob Barker on Price is Right
  • Hot weather killing my flowers
  • Lying prone in bed with a 103.7 fever, fully believing that I was at death's door with the flu for two days, unable to get up for more than mere minutes at a time
  • Plugging a vaporizer into the wall in my room and having sparks fly and the breaker trip, plunging half my house into darkness
  • Leaving for ALA Annual in DC on Friday and having to pack

The Last of the Red-Hot Vampires by Katie MacAlister

I love Katie MacAlister novels, particularly those focusing on sexy vampires, strong women and impossible situations.

Of course, this one in a doozy. ;-)

Physicist Portia a total skeptic about anything supernatural or magical, so when she steps into a fairy ring, turns into a virtue, gets kidnapped by a nephilim and falls in love with a vampire, she has a hard time believing anything of the sort. ;-)

MacAlister's writing is always smart and funny, and her women tough and intelligent, though I wasn't quite as engaged with this novel, which delved more into "heaven and hell", fallen angels and had the vampire subplot as more of an afterthought, to my mind.

Still, I enjoyed this quick, tasty read!


Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

This has been one of those big "buzz books", where everyone who reads it recommends it to another, then another, then another. When I was told by everyone (including trusty read-alike friend Nat) that I should read this, I grudgingly accepted it.

I mean...a novel about a circus? During the Great Depression?

And yet, from the very first page, I was engrossed, and found myself flying through the pages. Jacob is 90 (or 93), and the novel switches from present day to his recollections of working in a traveling train filled with circus animals, performers, bad men, beautiful women, drama and a very cunning elephant.

I can't describe this novel and do it any sort of justice, except to say that I was completely surprised and completely taken by this novel. What an amazing piece of fiction - highly recommended!


My Wicked Highlander by Jen Holling

My friend Jen gave me a trio of "men in kilts seducing young maidens" books on her recent visit, and I'm so grateful for this one.

See, I woke up in the middle of the night a few days ago with a 103.7 temperature (I'm usually about 97.1), convinced I was going to die and be found three days later, eaten by wild dogs.

In any case, I managed to focus my eyes every few hours on a few pages of this novel, and though some of the details escape me (my brain was addled!), this is a historical novel set in 1597ish in which Isobel is a witch and Philip a strapping Highlander sent to retrieve her from the south to take her to her betrothed.

Naturally, they fall in love, lots of drama, accusations, etc, etc....

It was an easy book (thank god!), with some good research but not a whole heck of a lot in substance - even the romance didn't really captivate me.

But then, that could be the fever talking...


Dead Connection by Alafair Burke

As y'all know, I've been trying to expand my repertoire of mystery/suspense novels, so when I was offered an ARC of this new mystery, I jumped right on it.

Burke (daughter of writer James Lee Burke) has written a stand-alone novel, set in New York City, wherein a killer is finding women on the internet and murdering them, all the while echoing a case from 20 years before - with a very special connection to Detective Ellie Hatcher, who was plucked from obscurity to work on the case.

I thought this was a smart, twisty-turny, very "now" mystery with engaging characters, several moments I didn't see coming, and Burke clearly researched and understood the "internet generation" with this novel. I hope she will revisit Ellie Hatcher in future books before returning to the "Samantha Kincaid" series that made her name.

A great mystery!

PS I read this the night before my huge, honkin' fever kicked in, so I had vivid dreams all night of murder and chases and intrigue. Scared the crap out of me. But I still liked the book. ;-)

June 9When it rains, it pours!

After having Mum and Dad here last week, I got another set of surprise visitors - the B-ton gang!

Jason and Sean, Jen and Layne came down to TinyTown for a weekend visit after spending the day at Holiday World (getting rained on, and then overheating). We hung out, we ate, we visited the TinyTown Summerfest activities...

Good times, good times.

And Layne is getting so BIG! :-)

And the tenderloins at TinyTown's Summerfest are as big as your head!

But oh so yummy...

BIG Tenderloin

(Weekend photoset here)

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

After the runaway success of The Kite Runner, I'm sure my colleagues and I weren't the only ones anticipating this new release from bestseller Hosseini.

Again, the setting is Afghanistan, but this time Hosseini uses two women as his main characters, switching between their stories until they become hopelessly entwined. The story begins in 1970s and plays through today, encompassing 9/11, the Taliban, and the switches in rule in this turbulent nation.

I can't really discuss the plot without giving things away, but suffice to say that this is another engaging, beautifully written novel that will break your heart and raise your spirits.

Highly recommended!


The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert

Gail selected this title as this month's book discussion (I will be at ALA in DC, and thus unable to lead the discussion), and I wanted to read it, particularly after so enjoying Eat, Pray, Love by the same author.

This is an odd non-fiction book, chronicling the upbringing and life of Eustace Conway, who chose at a young age to strike out and live entirely off the land, and then wanted to spread the word to others, thus carving out a place of his own, avoiding his abusive father, and helping other Americans live off the land.

This is a bit of a "car wreck" watch the descent of Eustace from tolerant and amiable to a man so much like his father in terms of emotional abuse. I really enjoyed reading about the "nature" bits more than the "emotional" bits - I guess I wanted more Bear Grylls and less Sigmund Freud.

Still, this was a fascinating bit of creative non-fiction, and I read it quickly. Of course, just as Eustace wants, I have a teeny, tiny desire to strike out and spend a few nights under the stars (but with a flush toilet nearby, which kind of defeats the object). ;-)


The Harlequin by Laurell K. Hamilton

This novel is truly like a car wreck.

I want to look away, I want to quit reading the series because it's not even a shadow of how it began, and yet...I'm powerless to stop.

Frankly, the Anita Blake series has fallen so far from where it began, it's almost laughable. Anita began as a fairly strong, fairly complex character who has morphed into a laughable Mary Sue, who has more powers than LIKE.ANYONE.EVER.OMIGOD, and the main plot points involve how to get from the beginning of a scene to having Anita have sex with anyone and everyone, while still claiming to be a "prude".


I had higher hopes for this one - Edward was going to have a reappearance, but he was woefully underused, as was my darling vampire, Jean-Claude. LKH continues to lambast Richard (proportedly based on her EX-husband) while singing the praises of Nathaniel and Micah (proportedly based on the CURRENT husband). I found the plot weak at best, and the conclusion truly silly.

Will I keep reading this series? I just don't know's hard to read a book when you have nothing but disdain for the author...


June 4Two pirates came to visit APL on Monday night for "Pirate Island Madness!".

Bagpipes, singing, a limbo contest, pirate tales, beads and chocolate.

Of course, the highlight was forcing my father to pose with said pirates.

On his BIRTHDAY, no less.

Happy 39th, Dad. ;-)

Mother and Daughter

My reason to Relay

Relay for Life has come and gone once again in TinyTown.

Every June (usually on the, most of TinyTown turns out at one point or another to walk the track, eat some good grub from booths trying to raise funds for cancer research, bid on baskets, and buy a luminaria or two in memory or support of loved ones.

The high school track turns into a town of its own - tents everywhere, lots of waves and greetings, and purple as far as the eye can see.

It's really something else.

We stuck it out most of the day, and I walked many miles (in the heat!) without much of a sunburn to show, and raffled off my quilt to the tune of over $120 dollars.

Thanks to my friends and family, I personally raised over $1300 for cancer research.

I watched Cowboy Bob circle the track, my dad take a lengthy nap, Greg dress the former fire chief in freezing cold (and wet!) clothes, two storms blow through, and ate a lot of tasty food.

Good times.

Good times made better that my parents was there with me for every minute of the day.

Thanks to all of you for your support, your dollars, and your thoughts! Go Relay!

Family, Relay-Style

Of course, I also took many, many pictures. Wanna see?

Last week was a tough one.

Trying to coordinate our cookout and get everything ready to go, and then getting everything ready for the frenzy that is the start of Summer Reading Program is trying enough.

But then...

On Tuesday, we learned that our favorite patron - a precious, precocious, darling boy named Mylan - accidentally drowned in an inground pool not far from his home.

He was two years old.

Mylan was known by the entire staff...he always greeted us with "Hi Ladies" when he came in, and everyone know his face, his smile and his voice. He visited the library almost every day, and we cooed over him every day.

He was truly the cutest child I've ever known.

To learn that he was gone was devastating to the entire staff. A lot of tears, a lot of "Why? WHY?" could be heard, and a lot of heartache that this little boy was...gone.

Mylan has been in my thoughts so much the last week and a half, and I think we all found ourselves going through the motions of life, of library work, and of getting things done every day.

When Mylan went missing, the family immediately checked the library. Staff members went to the funeral home. The open house for family and friends was held in our meeting rooms - which was rented and set up gratis by the library staff.

Though this was a senseless, devastating act, it has reminded me of something.

This is why we do what we do.

I chose to work in a small town library so that I can know my patrons, become a part of their lives, and allow them to become a part of ours. We are friends, family, librarians and counselors all wrapped in one. We celebrate, we mourn, we help where we can, and in a small town, it's amazing to see how everyone - whether they knew Mylan or not - came together to support his young mother and father.

We don't have the biggest budget, the newest gadgets, or the palatial building that big systems boast, but we do have something that larger libraries sometimes don't.

Our hearts.

Mylan, you will be so missed.

What do you get when you combine a Summer Reading Program kickoff, a Patron Appreciation Day cookout, and a lot of candy?

A library staff full of pirates, baby. ;-)

June 1

We signed up hundreds of people into our "Pirates of the Summer Readin' (savvy?)" program, gave away hundreds of hamburgers and hot dogs to hungry patrons, and got a lot of compliments on our attire. ;-)

Line Up

My library rocks. :-)

Darlings, I know it's been ages since I updated...have you noticed I seem to apologize for absence a lot? I do.

In any case, I have at least seven or eight minutes until I have to run off again, so I thought I'd do a little updating so I can remember where I've been in the last few weeks!

I went home on Memorial Day weekend, with the plan of getting up at the ungodly hour of 4:30am on Sunday to go to Putnam Park.

You know, that motorcycle track where my bro-in-law broke himself a couple of summers ago?

What do you get when you combine leathers, motorcycles, rainrainrain, cucumber sandwiches and enough food to last a nuclear winter?

Just a typical Priddis outing, that's all. ;-)

Good times, until the rains came....

Ready to Ride!

May 27

Our teeny tiny lunch offerings...

The Spread

Watching the riders go veryveryvery fast...

First Run

And, you know, some rain...


It was an awesome day, really, but for the weather!

(Full photo set here)

A "theloudlibrarian" exclusive - Don on turns 10-12 and hitting the straightaway. Okay, so my camerawork isn't exactly ace, but still!

Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

This is the sequel to Poison Study, which I read last year and enjoyed, so I asked my colleague to Interlibrary Loan this follow-up (I believe a third volume is due this year).

This continues the story of Yelena, a former food taster with magical abilities, divided loyalties, a new family, an old love, and a lot of political maneuvering to be done. This novel packs in a lot of threads, but Snyder's skilled writing and totally engaging lead character keep the story moving and interesting.

I think of this as sort of "light fantasy" - modern language and not too many stretches of the imagination - and a good series for folks who don't read a lot of fantasy, or are looking for something that isn't totally epic or last 24 volumes. ;-)

A good fantasy follow-up!


The Last Summer (Of You & Me) by Ann Brashares

This is the first adult novel from Brashares, author of the wildly popular Traveling Pants series, and takes place on a New England seaside, which seems to be a theme with me lately. ;-)

Alice and Riley are twenty-something sisters who are spending another summer on Fire Island (a family tradition), and best friend from summer Paul arrives after a two year absence, spinning into place a story of attraction, family, loss, and how the smallest acts can drive people apart - and bring them back together.

This is a lovely novel - a passionate romance that's a long time coming, an evocative setting with vivid descriptions of the ocean that made me feel as though I was there, great characterizations, and the highs and lows of life right between the pages. Though I could occasionally see some YA roots in Brashares' story, I thought it was a great adult novel - recommended!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to see if I can buy a New England beach house - cheap. ;-)